Apple’s New Maps Strategy

In a logical twist that can only be described as ‘bizarre’, Apple unveiled their newly minted plan for improving their oft-ridiculed ios 6 maps application.

Instead of hiring a small team of developers to  improve terrestrial imaging and GPS coordinate matching, Apple has hired 182,300 construction workers to perfrom what the company calls “Reverse Geography.”

“Reverse Geography is changing the physical landscape to fit the imagery depicted in the best mapping software in the world, Apple Maps”, said Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

“We were hit hard by complaints that first week and acted decisively. We knew, since it was an Apple product, that the map software was perfect. It was the world that needed improvement. It also didn’t hurt that hiring tens of thousands of laid off construction workers was more cost effective than the 8-10 developers it would have taken to change the software. But, like I said, why mess with perfect?”

Work started almost immediately to move the Dulles International Airport runway 4 miles east to make way for a new road that shows prominently on the apple maps.

Similar efforts are underway to relocate the Brooklyn Bridge and  to paint large swaths of land white.

“”This changes everything, again. Again.”, reads Apple’s new marketing slogan on the eve of unveiling their terra-forming strategy.

In late trading AAPL shares were up 3.5%

 

 

 

All Things Money – Roundup

Some interesting things this week:

Budgets are Sexy has another installment of “Would you rather”. This time on the interesting topic of fame vs. fortune.

This has to be the coolest idea I have seen in awhile from the PF blogosphere. I have an idea for a documentary I have been kicking around for awhile as w I look forward to this one!

Wise Bread on How not to be a wage slave, how to git-r-done on an airplane and college fund tips. All great articles (as usual)

Get Rich Slowly has an interesting reader story about the relationship between nosy family members and personal finance

Financial Samurai has an article on How To Always Feel At Home While On Vacation

Don’t Do This!!! (but if you have to read this article first) How to borrow from your 401(k)

 

Be Well

-WR

The Hero’s Journey to Financial Independence [Kindle Edition] is free for 24 hours

If you own a Kindle (and even if you don’t) don’t hesitate to grab a free copy of the new book The Hero’s Journey to Financial Independence:

Free for 24 hours!

 

This small book offers a unique approach to the subject of personal finance. The Hero’s Journey to Financial Independence takes the reader through the steps necessary to develop strong, enduring money habits and to avoid the pitfalls many of us face. My intention was to create a fun, easy to read volume full of rock-solid financial wisdom and real-world advice. It is based in part on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth as described in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

The hero’s journey has been an inspiration to writers for over half a century. The Matrix, Lion King and Harry Potter all use a form of this framework. Most notably, it inspired George Lucas to envision Star Wars as a mythological hero tale.

 

-WR

 

 

 

 

 

Blog-O-Matic

A look at noteworthy PF articles from around the web:

 

First, J. Money never fails to impress. I feel smart and frugal after checking out his list of money wasters.

Second, I am not qualified to link to this page (or any other for that matter) but here are few good links anyway…

Need a deal, check out The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Oh, if we had all started this young.

Wise Bread has some good tips for us older folks on how to fight debt.

$1.99 Organic whole chicken? I am heading to Whole Foods on Friday!

Bargain Briana (and IKEA) just gave me a free breakfast!

-WR

 

Do What You Hate (so you can do what you love)

Comfort Zone.

A phrase so overused it has become synonymous with the word ‘apathy’. There are good reasons for this. We have become accustomed to viewing our world and our place in it as sort of a reality show of strengths and weaknesses. If we are good at something, it is said, we should pursue it. Encourage it! Put our best foot forward.

Sometimes our best foot is the wrong foot.

When we focus only on our strengths we can refine them. A world class ballerina, bodybuilder or bowler must focus on little else than his or her craft in order to attain such greatness. These are narrow niches. If you want to be the best swimmer in a well defined pool you have to have talent, strength and focus.

However, when the challenge becomes more complex, the answer becomes more nuanced. The line between art and science becomes muddled. You can no longer focus on a well-defined discipline and hope to achieve greatness as those before you. What you need, usually, is a healthy dose of balance.

Pity the artist who does not understand business.

Pity the businessman who does not contemplate art.

Pity the athlete who does not read.

Pity the bookworm who does not sweat.

There is great value in the embracing the parade of opposites, doing that which you simply don’t do, embracing things you do not like. This is life. In order to fully understand art you must know business. On a more basic level, in order to fully appreciate joy you must, unfortunately, experience sorrow. These are the pairs of opposites that drive our lives.

Start by defining your passions, the things you love to do. List your talents, desires and skills.

Then ask,”What is the opposite of this?”

This will most likely be your hate list.

By doing what you hate, you actually liberate yourself to do what yo love, to do what you are.

Are you a wordsmith, unencumbered by numerical or financial idiosyncrasies? Watch a Khan Academy course on Algebra. Take an accounting class. Do Sudoku. This will not erase your love of language but rather enhance your ability to share it with the world.

Are you a technologist, A pure engineer kind of  fearful of pursuing social relationships or speaking in front of groups? Join a local Toastmasters International club and become friends with a group of people who are eminently respectful and interested in your success as a leader and public speaker. This will not inhibit your technological talent but rather enable you to share your gift with the world.

The examples are too numerous, the challenge is yours.

Do what you hate and you can do what you love.

-WR

Thinking Outside the Box : Debt Ceiling Edition

Welcome to this edition of “Thinking Outside the Box”.

I have solved the debt ceiling problem and frankly I am surprised that the Tea Party and the White House have not contacted me yet.

Here are a few of my best ideas (yes, there were worse ones):

1. Sell Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri to China for 5 Trillion dollars. This new Chinese province situated right in the center of the continental U.S. could be the grand hub for all of our Chinese needs. They could open a Foxconn factory, hire the native population and make Ipads and sell them from fake Apple stores.

2. Hire obese people to hand deliver tweets. Tweets would be printed out on fortune cookie paper, given to a tweet-walker (or tweet-biker) who would use human power to deliver the 140 character (or less) message throughout a nationwide network (except of course, the big new China in the middle, no social media goes in there). This would dramatically reduce healthcare costs and put millions of people to work.

3. Sell the National Parks to Disney. It’s a small world, after all.

4. Open a string of Government Run Social Security Casinos. Require seniors to pick up their S.S. money on site in the form of chips. Odds are always on the house!

Do you have any ideas?

Who owns the U.S. Debt?

In an interesting story over at Business Insider, the owners of the U.S. treasuries are enumerated. I had always assumed that China was the number one purchaser of U.S bonds. It turns out that Uncle Sam is the majority holder. This is just like Japan who owns a majority of Japanese public debt. I learned of the Japanese holding in much the same way I learned of the U.S. percentages, In a time of crisis. The Japanese nuclear disaster highlighted their domestic vulnerability much like the U.S. debt ceiling crisis is shining a bright light on our vulnerability.

While China, Japan and the U.S. make up the top 3 creditors, we hold a lions share of U.S. debt:

The U.S. owes the U.S most

 

Here is a breakdown of all of the creditors to the U.S. :

Who we owe

source: Business Insider

 

The Wall Street Journal has a live blog of the debt debate that is worth checking out.

Question: What changes have you made in your personal finances as a result of the ongoing debt debate?

I have reduced my exposure to equities recently and have increased cash. I could miss out on some gain and dividends but the market uncertainty leading up to the artificial debt deadline could precipitate a big correction or crash. Nobody knows.

I do hope they sort this out soon, though, it is really a dangerous political sideshow that is doing grave harm to our reputation around the world.

-WR

Who? How Much?
Hong Kong 121.9
Caribbean banking centers 148.3
Taiwan 153.4
Brazil 211.4
OPEC 229.8
Mutual funds 300.5
Commercial banks 301.8
State, local and federal retirement funds 320.9
Money market mutual funds 337.7
United Kingdom 346.5
Private pension funds 504.7
State and local governments 506.1
Japan 912.4
U.S. households 959.4
China 1160
The U.S. Treasury 1630
Social Security trust fund 2670

What Is A U.S. Company?

 

As we head into the final furlong of the debt debate it may be perplexing that our economy seems to be doing so poorly in terms of housing, joblessness, consumer confidence and myriad other ‘coal mine canaries’. I thought it would be interesting to understand why the stock market seems to be riding so high.

What do the following organizations have in common?

3M
Alcoa
American Express
AT&T
Bank of America
Boeing
Caterpillar
Chevron Corporation
Cisco Systems
Coca-Cola
DuPont
ExxonMobil
General Electric
Hewlett-Packard
The Home Depot
Intel
IBM
Johnson & Johnson
JPMorgan Chase
Kraft Foods
McDonald’s
Merck
Microsoft
Pfizer
Procter & Gamble
Travelers
United Technologies Corporation
Verizon Communications
Wal-Mart
Walt Disney

If you answered that they are all American companies you’d be right, technically. There is a slight problem with these companies in particular though. They happen to be the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. When newsies say “The Dow is up” or “The Dow is down” what they are saying is the average price of these 30 companies stock has gone up or down. (The actual calculation is slightly more complicated, it is the sum of the prices of all 30 stocks divided by the ‘Dow Divisor‘, a magic number used to take into account company changes such as stock splits or spinoff companies but the effect is the same.)

So what’s the problem?

When you read or hear something like this: “U.S. blue-chip stocks are riding high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished its best month of the year.” You’d be inclined to infer that the health of the U.S. Economy is somehow tied to the Dow. You’d be wrong. While all of the companies are technically American organizations, many of them are actually multinationals with a majority of employees and sales abroad.

Things that make you say MMM

When a company such as 3M (Originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing company. You can’t get more apple pie and baseball than that) has only 34% of sales in the U.S you could say, “Hey, great. They are selling stuff on the global market.” When you come to find out that only 33% of their employees are in the U.S. then you might start to wonder if they should really qualify as an American company at all, much less be listed prominently on the DOW.

 

Caution:Rant

Perhaps this is why the DOW is sky high yet people can’t find jobs or buy houses around the country. Incidentally, how does the U.S. Federal Reserve lending $45 billion to european banks help U.S. citizens? Many bankers and the people inside our own Fed are increasingly proving to be dirty, despicable people. Banks got a big bailout yet won’t lend to small businesses or American people. Maybe we shoulda let them fail.

/Rant

Which other companies on that list should perhaps not be there?

What should we use instead to measure the overall health of American enterprise?

When Tim Geithner says “We’re almost out of runway” it might be time to be very concerned.

 

please let me know what you think.